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tv   U.S. Senate 11302017  CSPAN  November 30, 2017 8:29pm-9:16pm EST

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the promise of middle-class tax cuts is a lot. plain and simple, a scam. the president sent the administrator of the small business administration, linda mcmahon, to connecticut to announced, quote, everyone will experience a tax cut. but the fact of the matter is, everybody in certain brackets experiences a tax increase under most circumstances. who is harmed? you know who benefits -- the wealthiest benefit and corporations benefit. but the ones harmed, according to the congressional budget office, are the majority of people who earn less than $75,000 a year and they will be worse off within the next ten years.
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in connecticut, that means 468,200 taxpayers in the bottom 80% of income distribution will experience a tax hike under this plan. the republican tax plan ends state and local tax deductibility, which means families are going to be taxed twice. it increases the federal burden on connecticut families who already pay more federal taxes than they receive in federal funding. now what i hear, again listening to my friends and constituents in connecticut, is that they're willing to pay their fair share. they're willing to pay even more than they may receive back from the federal government if they feel the system itself is fair. not rigged in favor of the wealthy or big corporations or
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special interests. and they are the ones who will benefit from this tax scam. state and local taxes paid by my constituents in connecticut are vital to supplying communities with resources that pay for essential local services. we're talking about police and schools. and, yes, infrastructure, rebuilding roads and bridges, ports, airports. vital services. in connecticut, 723, 773 households deduct state and local taxes. the average deduction is $19,664. assuming somebody pays a 25% rate of taxes or 30%, apply that to $19,000, we're talking about real money.
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the bill also abolishes a critical deduction that provides relief for taxpayers who experience losses on their property, including homeowners in connecticut. thousands of them that have crumbling foundations, uninsured for those repairs, casualty losses that under current law, the i.r.s. ruled just last week could be deducted. they will be robbed of those deductions under this cruel, maligned, malicious, misguided bill. the bill also hits working-class families. it expands the child tax credit, for example, but tips the scale in favor of the wealthiest families. it values a child fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy
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family to be worth a $2,000 tax credit. meanwhile, an estimated 140,000 military families who have median adjusted gross incomes of $28,000 will receive a child tax credit worth only $75 or less. if you're wealthy, it's worth $2,000. if you're less well off, adjusted gross income of $28,000, it's $75 or less. what is fair or rational about that distinction? but in fact it epitomizes what is wrong about this bill. it increases inequality. it enhances and heightens the insecurity that my colleague from alaska mentioned earlier. it is wrong. it betrays american values.
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first responders are harmed. earlier this month the national president of the fraternal order of police wrote a letter to the house and senate leadership urging members of congress to protect the state and local tax deduction as is. if this deduction is eliminated, local budgets will be strained which includes the salaries and equipment that support our law enforcement. no wonder that the head of the fraternal order of police objects to eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes. teachers are harmed. the national education association has found that gutting the state and local tax deduction will seriously harm already underfunded public education, risking nearly 250,000 education jobs. those are middle-class family jobs in a profession that is
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profoundly important to our future. we talk a lot in this chamber about the importance of skill training and education to the future of our workforce and making sure that jobs are filled by people with the right skills for them. and here we are gutting our educational system. and those cuts in turn will lead to approximately $250 billion in cuts to public education over the years to come. finally job creators, the job creators who do the infrastructure work in construction and in skill training. there is common ground here. on infrastructure there is bipartisan support for a infrastructure bank or public financing authority. and a number of those proposals in fact would involve
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repatriating funds at lower tax rates so that the money part abroad, trillions of dollars that companies have put there because they want to avoid taxes on those profits could come back. the money should come back. the money could come back at lower tax rates and be invested in infrastructure, but this proposal makes no such proposal because it is bereft of a realistic view of what is necessary for infrastructure. the sick are harmed as well. illness is not about a red or blue state. illness strikes any one of us any time. the republican tax plan will raise insurance premiums and kick 13 million americans off their health insurance all to pay for a massive corporate tax
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cut pass-throughs that benefit the wealthiest, other reductions in taxes that are give aways to the people who need them least. the corporations that today move overseas to evade taxes and benefit from special interest loopholes to lower their effective tax rates are going to be rewarded under this program. let's be very blunt. they will have increased incentives to move those jobs overseas. the bill borrows $1.5 trillion to enable them to have lower rates. and those billions will line the pockets of corporate c.e.o.'s. in fact, that $1.5 trillion is equivalent to all veterans health care and benefits payments to every single veteran in america over the next decade. with $1.5 trillion, you could
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increase the benefits to our veterans, enhance the quality of their health care, train them for jobs that exist now, and, by the way, you could also pay off all the student loan debt in our nation. think of it for a moment. think of all those young people whose lives would be different, transformed if they were absolved of the worry about paying off those hundreds of millions of dollars of loans for each of them, tens of thousands that crush their futures and drive them to jobs that were not their first choices but which they have to do simply to pay off debt. rather than working toward bipartisan tax reform that creates opportunity for all americans, this bill divides
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our nation. it increases the divisions economically, but also socially and culturally and, yes, politically. it drives a division in this body between two sides of the aisle literally physically between our republican colleagues and ourselves. how wonderful it would be for us to take the time, use hearings, and real markups and do what was done in the 1980's when the last major tax reform, true tax reform was done. the time and the consultation and the discussion and, yes,
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the compromise were at the core of that work. what is at the core of this work and this bill are very simply blatant partisanship. there's no question that our tax code needs to be reformed. i am prepared to work on real tax reform, not the lie that we have before us. real tax reform that supports our middle class and drives our economy forward and creates jobs that would be the right way to do it, and that would be the way we could do it if we take a step back. and it's not too late. we could do it tomorrow. it's never too late to do the right thing. i urge my colleagues to take the time and to engage in real
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compromise, legislation that is worthy of the name and a tax reform measure that truly is reform and benefits all americans. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor to my colleague from new jersey. mr. menendez: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, this tax bill is truly astounding. only in washington, only in washington could republicans borrow $1 trillion from china to fund massive tax cuts for big corporations and still need to raise taxes on millions of americans in order to pay for it. look, i understand my
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republican friends are in a pickle. they need to give president trump a win. the problem is that this white house is asking them to pass a tax plan built on the most unpopular policies in america. and i think my colleagues know it. they know that after all the american people have been through, the financial crisis, the great recession, decades of wage stagnation and soaring education, housing and health care costs, after all of this hardship, cutting taxes for corporations, taking health care away from 13 million people, and raising taxes on the middle class isn't exactly a recipe for winning the hearts of voters. let alone a strategy for building a more dynamic,
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inclusive and prosperous economy for all americans. so, yes, republicans are in a tough spot. they know that if we had a sensible campaign finance system, policies this disastrous would spell disaster for them in 2018. that's why they designed a tax bill that has nothing to do with simplifying our tax code. nothing to do with growing the wages of american workers. i appreciate my friend from alaska talking about growth. i'm all for growth. but, first of all, i want to see growth in american wages. and it's really hard to have growth when you take $1 trillion or more and add it to the debt of the next generation and think you're going to have growth when you're saddling them with greater and greater debt.
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it has nothing to do, this bill, with creating jobs, and everything to do with pleasing corporate special interests that fund their campaigns. that's what brings us here today. that's how senate republicans are on the verge of trying to pass massive tax cuts for corporations that will be permanent. they don't have to worry about it. it will be permanent. paid for, however, by raising taxes on working families and saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions in debt. now i know that some of you at home my wonder how does the g.o.p. get away with parading this p bill around as a middle-class tax cut. well, it's because they're using smoke and mirrors do dupe you into thinking you're getting something of a tax cut. these so-called deficit hawks, they passed a budget that gives themselves permission to add
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$1.5 trillion to the national debt by 2026. only a short nine years from now. so long, however, as they don't add a dime to our deficit the year after, in 2027. isn't it nice if you can go ahead and add an enormous am of debt and not worry about it? that's what they do. but here's the problem. it's damned near impossible to permanently slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% without hiking taxes on millions of average people. i call it inconvenient math. that's why republicans offer some families tiny, temporary -- i underline temporary -- tax relief without owning up to the fact that cinderella's chariot
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turns into a pumpkin really fast. by 2019, americans who make under $30,000 a year will be financially worse under this plan. by 2021, americans earning $40,000 a year will be worse off. and by 2027, anyone earning less than $75,000 a year will get hit. now, i'll admit they found some pretty clever ways to pull off this con job. first they end the state and local tax deduction and force millions of hardworking middle-class families in states like new jersey to pay taxes twice on the same money. these families aren't high rollers. in fact, 83% of new jerseyians who claim the state and local
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tax deduction make under $200,000 a year. as a matter of fact nearly half of them make under $100,000 a year. ending the state and local tax deduction is like one giant hit job on middle-class families in states like new jersey. my constituents can't afford to subsidize the country anymore than they already do. and speaking about some of these comments, earlier this evening, my colleague, the junior senator from pennsylvania, said on the floor that the state and local tax deduction is a subsidy to states like new york and new jersey. he said, and i quote, i don't know how it could possibly be fair to force my constituent who lives in say daufin county, pennsylvania, why they should pay more in income taxes to
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subsidize someone who gets to live in a multimillion dollar couldn'to in the west side of man -- condo in the west side of manhattan. there are states that actually taker states. they get more than they send to the federal treasury. in fact, according to rockefeller foundation, on average each resident of pennsylvania takes nearly $1,500 per year more in federal benefits than they pay in federal taxes. even if the rockefeller foundation is wrong, let me go and read part of a letter sent by some of the very county executives and elected officials who represent dauphen county. here's part of a letter they sent. as county executives
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representing pennsylvania's counties, we are writing to express our deep concerns with proposals to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes as the primary funding offset for federal tax reform. and they go on to say across the state, meaning pennsylvania, more than 1.8 million households claim the state and local tax deduction for a total of $ 32.4 billion. we're particularly concerned that the loss of state and local tax deduction will harm homeowners and property values. without the state and local tax deduction, our taxpayers, pennsylvania taxpayers, would be doubleably taxed. this is contrary to the intentions of our founding fathers and overturns the precedent set in the civil war income tax proposed by -- imposed by president lincoln and
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again in the original federal tax code of 1913. there is strong rationale why the state and local tax was included as one of the original six federal tax deductions. simply put, the state and local tax deduction is not a special loophole, but instead a core principle of fiscal federalism that should be preserved now. that's the letter and there's more to go on, but -- signed by a series of individuals who are elected representatives in pennsylvania, including, those who represent dauphin county. so every year successful blue chip states like new jersey and new york and virginia contribute billions of dollars in tax revenue that goes to americans in less productive, lower-income
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states, and now republicans are trying to take even more. well, we're sick and tired of it and we want our money back. in fact, i'll make a deal with you. since you claim to not support states subsidizing other states, how about you send all of the federal tax dollars you receive above and beyond what all of your taxpayers paid to the federal government and you transfer that back to my state of new jersey. i'll make that deal with you right now. sounds like a deal? i didn't think so. and here's another thing that really ticks me off. it's the sneaky, secret tax hikes that republicans buried in this bill that bilk billions of dollars from american paychecks in the next two decades. again, we know why they have to do it even after borrowing $2 trillion from china there's no way to pay for permanent
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corporate tax cuts without taking a bigger cut from american workers. and, boy, have they found a sneaky way to do it. it's the most complicated, convoluted boring tax increase in history, but, boy, takes $500 billion out of american paychecks and sends it straight into the coffers of multinational corporations. that's something really to be proud of. it's called the chain c.p.i. it seems like a tiny tweak to how the government measures the cost of living, something we call inflation. now, he's the thing about inflation. ask any american walking down the street if their wages have kept pace with rising costs, they'll laugh in your face. they'll tell you their incomes have barely budged while everything from the cost of milk
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to college tuition gets more expensive every year. but what if the government pretended that the rising costs weren't such a hardship? and that is what we call the chained c.p.i. tax increase. don't take it from me. take it from a republican tax bureau, grover norquist. here's what he had to say about this very provision, chained c.p.i. back in 2013. he said, quote, this is one of those things invented by people who are trying to raise taxes and pretend that they are not. if you change the law to get more money, that's a tax increase -- doesn't matter how you do it or what you call it. close quote. so, look, we all expect to pay a
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little more in taxes if we get a big raise at work, but now republicans want you to pay more in taxes even if you don't get a raise. each year more of your income, under this provision, will be taxed in higher brackets at the very same time that your deductions and tax credits slowly lose their value. it's a clever way for the government to shave a bit more off your paycheck every year even if your income hasn't risen in years. it's a republican tax on wage stagnation and a republican tax on the millennial generation. that's right. millennials are just now entering their prime earning years, and apparently they haven't had it hard enough, not
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after the great recession, not after drowning them in in student loan debt, because that's what congress really is doing. stick it to the millennials so that the koch brothers can get a nice tax cut. the american people deserve to know the big lie at the heart of the trump tax plan. the meager tax cuts for families are written in disappearing ink while the sneaky tax hikes, they are carved into stone. it is the republican majority's dirty little secret. the secret that even after borrowing $2 trillion from china they can permanently cut taxes for corporations without hiking taxes on millions of middle-class americans and millions more who dream of becoming middle class. and we've heard this all about,
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wild claims about tax cuts for the rich trickling down to working families. well, the truth is they never do. look, i was in the house of representatives back when congress passed the bush tax cuts, and i opposed taking the historic surplus that president clinton created to be used by president bush which he inherited and squander it on tax cuts, 70%, that went to the top 1% of americans. but that's chump change compared to the 60% plus that goes to the wealthy in the trump tax plan. by 2027, americans who make $40,000 to $50,000 a year will pay a combined 5.3 --
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$5.3 billion more in taxes while those who make millions, they get a $5.8 billion cut. pretty close. americans making $40,000 to $50,000 a year pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes, those who make millions get a $ 5.8 billion cut. republicans are okay with wealth distribution as long as it is taking from working families and giving it to the rich 1%. and this doesn't compare to what happens with the health care act when 13 million americans lose their health care coverage and everyone else gets saddled with higher premiums.
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now, meanwhile, some republicans are openly admitting this tax bill will be the first shot fired in their race to dismantle social security, medicaid, and medicare. in fact, the congressional budget office, the nonpartisan scoring division for the congress, already said these tax cuts will trigger huge multibillion-dollar cuts to medicare, and that's not the only way this bill screws over america's seniors. according to the aarp, 5.2 million seniors will face higher taxes in the next decade. think about that. asking seniors who have given this country a lifetime of hard work to pay for corporate tax cuts. and we know what corporations do with those tax cuts. during the bush tax holiday back
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in 2005, republicans promised big gains for workers. when corporations didn't bring the billions of dollars they stashed offshore home to build factories or page their workers better wages, the lion's share of the windfall went to just two things, higher pay for c.e.o.'s, kickbacks for their investors on wall street. so i'm not sure why white house advisor gary cohen seemed so surprised the other day when so few c.e.o.'s that were before him said that they would use the tax cuts to invest in american jobs. he asked for a show of hands. only a couple raised their hands. does anyone actually believe things will be different this time? of course not. how do we know?
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because unlike my republican friends in congress corporations cannot lie to their shareholders about what they plan to do with the trillion dollar in tax cuts. their c.e.o.'s are openly admitting that windfall will go straight to wall street. that's why i've been pushing for changes to this tax bill that would take away these big corporate tax cuts, if workers don't see bigger paychecks. of course, that's not what republicans have in mind. this tax plan has nothing to do with helping hardworking families in new jersey and across america get ahead. it's not about helping folks who have good jobs but still live paycheck to paycheck. it's about one thing, one thing -- cutting taxes for big corporations permanently that are raking in record profits with just straight-out refuse to
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pay their workers a decent wage. it's about cutting taxes for trust fund kids who were born on third base and think that they hit a triple. it's about paving the way for massive cuts to medicaid, medicare, and social security, and bankrupting states of the resources they need to invest in education, in infrastructure, in public health, in creating the growth for opportunity for all. these are the backwards priorities of this legislation. tax cuts for big corporations, wealthy campaign donors, paid for by taking a bigger cut out of workers' paychecks and saddling our grandchildren, like my granddaughter evangelina, with $2 trillion in debt. the only people who come out on top of this legislation are those who are already sitting at the very top.
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so much for draining the swamp. this is about as mucky as it gets. so i hope my colleagues come to their senses and put the brakes on this terrible tax bill. we can have tax reform, tax reform that is bipartisan, tax reform that can be permanent, tax reform that creates stability, tax reform that creates growth, not just for companies but growth for american workers' wages, and that creates a better economy for all. but this deal? this is a bad deal for the american people. and they deserve much better. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. and i observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate in a period of morning business with senators prompted speak for up it ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. friday, december 1. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be close the. final lurks following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of h.r. 1, under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: so if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it
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stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

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